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Archive for Friday, March 5, 2004

Stanford scrambles to win

Cardinal rallies from 5 down in final 20 seconds

March 5, 2004

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— Matt Lottich's desperation three-pointer gave top-ranked and undefeated Stanford another buzzer-beating victory, 63-61 over Washington State on Thursday night.

The Cardinal (26-0, 17-0 Pac-10) rallied in the final 20 seconds, with Lottich's long three-pointer coming off a wild scramble in front of the Stanford bench.

"There's definitely a God looking over this team," Lottich said. "We've had some breaks and some fortunate things go our way."

Washington State led 61-56 with 25 seconds left before Dan Grunfeld cut it to a point with a rare four-point play, hitting a long three-pointer from the corner and making a free throw.

With 17.2 seconds left, Washington State could not inbound the ball against Stanford's defense and turned it over on a five-second violation, setting the stage for Lottich's winning shot.

Stanford tried to hold the ball for the last shot, but it was knocked away from Chris Hernandez, and the wild scramble followed.

Nick Robinson, who hit the last-second shot to lift the Cardinal past Arizona last month, finally gained control and flipped the ball to Lottich for the game-winner. The long shot sent the Stanford players leaping for joy and prompted Washington State's fans to throw items on the floor in disgust.

"We fumbled it away to begin with, and I thought, 'That's it,'" Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "It looked so many times like we were not going to win the game. So many things needed to go right."

Lottich led Stanford with 15 points, Rob Little added 14, and Josh Childress had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Varem and Marcus Moore led the Cougars with 14 points apiece.

Stanford, which needs to beat Washington on Saturday to complete the first 18-0 season in conference history, has won 16 straight over Washington State. The Cougars have lost 44 games in a row to ranked teams and are 0-24 against top-ranked teams.

Washington State (12-15, 6-11) must beat California on Saturday to have a chance to qualify for its first Pac-10 tournament.

No team has gone through the Pac-10 undefeated since the conference went to an 18-game schedule in 1979.

DePaul 68, No. 13 Cincinnati 65

Rosemont, Ill. -- Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins wished he traveled a little lighter for this road trip.

With the Conference USA title still at stake, the Bearcats turned in a surprisingly sloppy, uninspired performance against DePaul. They were outrebounded, outhustled and, eventually, outscored by the Blue Demons.

Huggins wasn't happy with anyone on his team, but most of his anger was reserved for senior Tony Bobbitt, who finished 1-for-8 and committed two very costly fouls on three-point shots.

"I should have left him home," Huggins said. "If I had it to do over again, I'd have left him home."

Bobbitt didn't disagree, saying he ha to clean up his act. Cincinnati (20-6, 11-4 C-USA) still can win a share of the title if it beats Memphis on Saturday.

Thursday night, the Bearcats (20-6, 11-4) shot less than 44 percent, lost the rebounding battle 36-27 and had only three players in double figures. Field Williams had 14 points, and Eric Hicks and Armein Kirkland had 10 each.

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